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Track and field notes: Springs area rules the distance medley relay
Colorado Springs rocks the DMR
Cheyenne Mountain (4A), Vanguard (2A) and The Classical Academy (3A) all won their respective classifications in the girls' 800-meter sprint medley relay Friday, giving the Colorado Springs area winners in three of the five classes.
Cheyenne Mountain's win came with plenty of drama. After Alex Sheaffer, Courtney Tibbetts and Megan Ryan ran the two 100 and the 200 legs, Emma Kidd took over for the 400 as four teams arrived for the exchange at the same time. The traffic proved to be problematic.
“I got the baton at about the same time as the girl in lane 2 but she cut in front of me and there was a girl in lane 4 that cut in front of me and I ended up getting elbowed all the through the 100,” Kidd said. “Once I hit the (200) I knew it was time to go. I cut around them and sprinted to the end.”
The Indians' time of 1:47.82 edged Lewis-Palmer (1:48.33). Sand Creek took fourth and Palmer Ridge ninth.
After a near disaster on a handoff caused Vanguard to slip to third in Thursday's preliminaries, the quartet of Mikayla Tollet, Corrine Huthoefer, Rachel Hough and Jessy Sweet promised that they would win Friday's finals.
They are girls of their word.
Vanguard won with a 1:51.63, edging second-place Akron. The state championship was the first relay won by a Vanguard team, male or female.
“That was definitely something we were hoping for,” Huthoefer said. “We were working really hard for that, especially on perfecting our handoffs after yesterday.”
The Classical Academy
TCA came into the DMR having already won the preliminaries by 2.36 seconds and did itself one better in the finals with a 3.43-second margin of victory.
The Titans were paragons of consistency, qualifying at 1:48.25 and winning at 1:48.26.
Hannah Lindblom, Taylor Harris and Alexa Chacon ran the first three legs, handing the baton to Allison Kropkowski with a small lead. Kropkowski widened the lead during her 400 leg.
“We just went out there and fought our best,” Harris said. “We didn't go out there thinking we were going to win, we went out there to fight and to prove that we are winners.”
Fountain-Fort Carson was the area's top finisher in the 5A SMR, taking fourth.
TCA running away with girls’ 3A team lead
On the strength of its relay teams, The Classical Academy’s girls’ team is in position to win yet another 3A state track title heading into Saturday. The Titans lead the standings with 67 points, 21 ahead of second-place Eaton, with Estes Park (32), Berthoud (29) and Hotchkiss (25) rounding out the top five.
TCA’s boys are neck-and-neck with Faith Christian, with the Titans one point behind in second place with 55 points.
In other divisions, Sand Creek’s girls are third in 4A with 29 points, 18.5 behind leader Pueblo South. Thompson Valley is second with 45, while Discovery Canyon is fourth at 22. Widefield’s boys’ squad is second in 4A with 31 points, just one behind Broomfield.
Mesa Ridge’s Jackson wins 4A long jump
Mesa Ridge senior Rachael Jackson finally got the state title that had eluded her, winning the girls’ 4A long jump with a mark of 17 feet, 8 inches. Coronado’s Tatianna Clanton was second at 17-6½.
Jackson, who is headed to the University of Chicago to run track as a pre-med major, was thrilled to finally reach the top of the podium.
“I finally got first,” Jackson. “I’m really happy and excited. I knew I could have jumped farther, so I was kind of disappointed. But I’m taking home a first-place medal (while) representing Mesa Ridge High School and am graduating with that. I’m just dumbfounded.”
Jackson was happy to be part of a talented group of jumpers from Colorado Springs-area schools who made an impact at Jeffco Stadium this weekend.
“We represented Colorado Springs,” she said. “We came all the way to Denver to jump, run and do everything, and Denver (schools) didn’t dominate. It was Colorado Springs, so I was extra excited about that.”
First time's a charm
Having missed her freshman track season with a stress fracture, Palmer Ridge sophomore Alison Deitsch came into the state championships as a relative rookie. She proved experience may be overrated as she took second in the 4A girls' 800.
Thompson Valley's Karina Ernst separated early and won the race in 2:10.36. Deitsch had to fight through a condensed pack, finally emerging through the final turn and sprinting to second in 2:16.45.
“Coming here and placing second in my first state race is really incredible,” she said. “I trained really hard this season – I really wanted to win this.”
Harrison, FFC win 400 relay prelims
Colorado Springs schools have a reputation for producing great sprinters and the validity of the impression was on display as Harrison won the preliminaries of the 4A 400 relay and Fountain-Fort Carson did the same in the 5A relay.
Although it came in as the top seed, Harrison also benefited by some positive visualization courtesy of coach Al Melo.
“Our coach had us lay down and close our eyes and imagine ourselves running this race,” Vaughn Wingo said.
Harrison's time of 42.16 edged two area schools, Vista Ridge (42.46) and Falcon (42.53).
With qualifying for finals the goal rather than winning, Fountain-Fort Carson's goal coming in was about beating its best time of the season. It accomplished that goal by more than a second, clocking in at 41.58.
“We had the goal of getting a 41 in this race,” Tevin Donnell said. “We got our exchanges right.”
Other area top finishers (morning session)
Palmer's Ben Goodman took third in the 4A boys' 800 with a 1:53.91. Monarch's Kirk Webb won the race with a state-meet record 1:51.75. … Also in the boys' 800, Coronado's Quin Ralston took fourth in 4A and Vanguard's William Mayhew did the same in 4A. … TCA's girls and boys each took second and fourth in the 800. On the girls' side, Regan Mullen and Lauren Hamilton took second and fourth respectively while Adam Avischoius and Nathan Wilson did the same for the boys. … TCA's Hannah Carr took third in the 3A girls' discus.
Trio of seconds for TCA in relays
The Classical Academy notched a trio of second-place finishes in Friday’s afternoon relays at Jeffco Stadium. Senior Regan Mullen finished second in the girls’ 800 with a time of 2 minutes, 16.34 seconds, just behind Hotchkiss’ Jennifer Celis, who won in 2:15.59.
Mullen, who entered the event as the top seed, was disappointed by the result.
“Yesterday, I ran the 4x800, and I think that time was faster than this,” Mullen said. “I was hoping to have a little left (at the end), but I knew I didn’t have it with about 100 or 150 left to go. I ran with some team members and ran for God, so I feel OK.”
Mullen’s teammate, sophomore Lauren Hamilton, finished fourth in 2:22.41, with St. Mary’s Elena Slavoski (2:24.16) in sixth and Colorado Springs Christian School’s Hannah Struttman (2:24.40) eighth.
In the boys’ 800, Adam Avischious also finished second, stopping the clock at 1:58.00. Faith Christian’s Evan Fortney won the title in 1:57.74.
The race was a blur for the TCA senior.
“I’m not really sure what happened, because it was all a blur,” Avischious said. “It was fun, I know that, and I enjoyed running it. It was great to come out here and run against this kind of competition, and you know it’s going to be good out there.
“I just feel honored to be able to run with people like that.”
A pair of Avischious’ teammates also made the podium, with senior Nathan Wilson finishing fourth at 1:58.67 and junior Clark Mourning sixth at 1:59.44. Manitou Springs junior Garrett Finn was fifth at 1:58.80.
The Titans’ 800-meter relay team finished second in 1:45.91, off the pace of Cedaredge’s state meet record of 1:43.52.
Hanover wins 3,200 relay
Posting a time of 10:33.32, Hanover took home the gold in the 1A girls' 3,200 relay. The winning team is pictured above.
Other top area finishers
Other top finishers from Colorado Springs on Friday afternoon included Palmer’s Ben Goodman, who finished third in the 5A 800 with a 1:53.91. Monarch’s Kirk Webb won the state title with a state meet record of 1:51.75.
Sand Creek’s girls’ 800 relay team of Bridgett Gantt, Crystal Ortega, Bri Daniels and Haley Gantt finished second with a 1:42.71, just behind Valor Christian’s 1:42.55. Lewis-Palmer (1:44.33) was fourth, with Widefield (1:46.99) taking eighth.